Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed a retroactive suspension of a year and a day in a matter where the attorney had been convicted (and subject to interim suspension) of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. The Disciplinary Board found that the lawyer was "not a calculating participant in the scheme" and did not receive any financial gain from the scheme.
The attorney was counsel and secretary to Celestial Burial Case, which purported to be in the business of selling future casket needs, burial vaults and funeral merchandise. The company violated a law requiring that a percentage of the payments be held in trust and otherwise defrauded its customers. The funds were placed in the lawyer's IOLTA and other accounts and converted to the use of co-conspirators.
The sentencing judge in the criminal case noted that he was satisfied that the lawyer "would not commit another crime of that sort or any sort in the future." The lawyer's career had focused on poverty law and he devoted himself to a number of non-profit pursuits. (Mike Frisch)